A recent rise in health and environmental consciousness has led many people to begin walking and biking in lieu of driving their cars. Whether pedestrians are commuting or are out for a leisurely walk, their safety relies on an infrastructure that keeps them in mind. Examples of this include pedestrian bridges and footpaths, which separate pedestrians from automotive traffic.
Historically, pedestrian bridges were built of concrete, wood, or metal. However, advancements in material manufacturing technology have resulted in the availability of an alternative construction material. Fiber reinforced polymers, or FRP, are made up of polymer matrix materials that are reinforced with strong internal fibers. When used in pedestrian bridges and other infrastructure projects, they offer several advantages over traditional construction materials.
When Should You Use FRP for Pedestrian Bridges?
FRP products offer a solution for safe and affordable shared-use path (i.e., suitable for both walking and cycling) and pedestrian bridge projects. These materials are easily customizable, making them ideal in situations where bridges need to have a more complex, winding structure. Two excellent examples of this are the East and West Anacostia Pedestrian Bridges in Washington, DC, which used FRP to follow preexisting S-shaped trails and railways.
Benefits of Using FRP for Pedestrian Bridges
Using FRP materials—such as Composite Advantage’s FiberSPAN panels—for pedestrian bridge construction, provides bridge owners, managers, and users a variety of benefits, such as:
- Enhanced safety. FRP materials facilitate the development of dedicated pedestrian areas, which protect both pedestrians and drivers by setting clear spaces for each in high traffic areas. FRP materials are also non-slip and ADA compliant, offering greater safety to pedestrians and bikers who are out in the rain. FRP can also be used in sturdy railings.
- Lower material weight.FRP materials are lightweight, allowing them to be added to preexisting structures without the risk of affecting structural integrity. Installation is also faster.
- Broader design flexibility.FRP bridge decks are highly customizable, which enables them to be used in virtually any type of bridge design and incorporate a variety of functional bridge features.
- Greater durability.FRP is an ideal material for use in new and existing bridges due to its durability. It is specifically designed to require minimal maintenance and to withstand repeated contact with chemicals, water, or other corrosive materials.
- Easier construction. FRP decking is prefabricated to allow for easy and lower cost installation.
- Better cost-effectiveness. The quicker installation time, prefabricated production, and lower maintenance requirements of FRP result in incredible cost-effectiveness over the life of the bridge.
Composite Advantage’s FRP Solutions
At Composite Advantage, we understand the immense value FRP materials provide to our customers. Our FiberSPAN products—made from FRP materials—can be used in a wide variety of pedestrian bridges and shared-use paths. No matter what sort of project you’re working on, the durability and strength of our prefabricated FiberSPAN decking can help extend your structure’s lifespan in a way that traditional materials simply can’t. It is ideal for adding onto existing pedestrian bridges without adding additional weight.
If you’re interested in learning more about FRP and how it benefits bridge and other infrastructure projects, download our eBook, Walking the Walk With Fiber Reinforced Polymer.